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The Ultimate Guide to Owning and Caring for Singapore Special Dogs

The Ultimate Guide to Owning and Caring for Singapore Special Dogs

My cousin adopted two dogs from a shelter two years ago and recently decided to expand her pack with a Singapore Special.

And, as they say, sometimes the right dog finds you, not the other way around. That’s how it happened with Sarah.

She discovered her new fur baby while volunteering at a local animal shelter in Singapore. It was one of those magical moments when a pair of eyes lock onto yours, and you just know you’re meant to be together.

Her new friend was a mixed breed with the appearance of a Shepherd and the ears of a Terrier. It was love at first sight.

In this blog article, I’ll guide you on how to care for Singapore special dogs, from their physical characteristics to their personality and temperament, and even the costs of owning one of these lovable pups.

What are the characteristics of Singapore’s special dogs?

What are the characteristics of Singapore's special dogs

Singapore special dogs are not considered a “breed” in the traditional sense. They are a diverse group of dogs with various backgrounds and genetic influences.

These dogs are a mixture of breeds, producing a remarkable combination of appearances called mixes, pariahs, and functional breeds.

Singapore special dogs are also referred to as “Singapore Specials,” “Singaporean Village Dogs,” or even “Singaporean Pariah Dogs.”

They can range from small to medium-sized dogs, and their weight can vary considerably. Let’s discuss their physical characteristics in detail.



One of the standout features of Singapore Specials is their mixed heritage. They often have a blend of various breeds in their lineage, which results in a distinctive and sometimes unpredictable appearance.

These mixes contribute to their unique charm. You might find a Singapore Special with the body of a Terrier but the ears of a Shepherd or any other combination you can think of.

The Singapore special dogs’ mixed heritage doesn’t just end with their looks; it also extends to their personalities. They inherit a mix of traits, which can make them delightful and interesting companions.



The term “pariah” is commonly associated with Singapore Specials, but it’s not a reflection of their behavior; it’s a reference to their historical background.

Pariah dogs are a type of free-ranging dog commonly found in Asia. They are highly adaptable, which has contributed to their survival throughout history.

Pariah special dogs typically have a lean and muscular build, pointed ears, a curved tail, and a short coat.

Their appearance is tailored to the tropical climate of the region. While they may seem “wild” to some, they are just as lovable and trainable as any other breed.

Functional Breed

Functional Breed

There are also Singapore special dogs called “functional breed.” This means that their characteristics have evolved to meet the needs of their environment and the roles they’ve played in Singaporean society.

For example, they have a strong prey drive and are excellent hunters, making them valuable in controlling pests or an excellent bodyguard.

Functional breeds have strong legs for agility, sharp eyes for hunting, and a short coat that is easy to maintain in the tropical climate.

Personality and Temperament of Singapore Special Dogs

Personality and Temperament of Singapore Special Dogs

Beyond their unique physical characteristics, Singapore’s special dogs have distinctive personalities and temperaments that make them wonderful companions.

They are known for being:


These dogs exude an unmistakable sense of self-reliance. Their independence makes them resilient and adaptable in a variety of environments.

While some dogs might cling to your side, Singapore Specials often prefer to chart their own course, exploring the world with curiosity and a dash of self-confidence.


Despite their independent streak, Singapore Specials form deep, unwavering bonds with their human companions. Once you’ve earned their trust, they transform into fiercely loyal and protective companions.

You’ll have a four-legged friend who’s got your back through thick and thin, making them excellent watchdogs and devoted family members.


If you’re looking for quick learner dogs, Singapore special dogs are renowned for their sharp intellect.

Whether you’re teaching them new tricks, grooming them for search and rescue missions, or guiding them through agility competitions, they’ll rise to the challenge with enthusiasm.


These special dogs bring a boundless wellspring of energy to the table. They’re always ready for action, and you’ll enjoy plenty of playtime and exercise.

Whether it’s an invigorating morning run, a game of fetch, or a leisurely hike, Singapore Specials are up for the adventure.


Singapore Specials are naturally social butterflies. They have an innate ability to get along with other dogs and adapt to different social settings.

This sociable nature makes them ideal candidates for dog parks, playdates, and canine-friendly gatherings.

They thrive on interaction and companionship, making your social life more delightful!


Beneath a dog’s friendly surface, you might discover a protective streak in a Singapore special dog.

Singapore Specials can be territorial and cautious around strangers, particularly in their own domain. Early socialization plays a vital role in mitigating this behavior.

Proper training and exposure can effectively manage these dogs’ territorial tendencies, helping them coexist harmoniously with your visitors and other animals.

Common Health Issues of Singapore Special Dogs

Common Health Issues of Singapore Special Dogs

Like any animal, Singapore special dogs are susceptible to specific health issues. These include Hip Dysplasia, Cancer, Patellar, and Lens Luxation.

Understanding these common problems can help you better care for your furry friend and ensure their well-being.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a common concern for many dog breeds, including Singapore Specials. 

This condition occurs when the hip joint doesn’t develop properly, leading to arthritis and pain. You might notice your dog limping, having difficulty getting up, or a decreased interest in physical activity.

Regular veterinary check-ups and early diagnosis can make a significant difference in managing this condition.

Patellar Luxation

Patellar luxation, or “trick knee,” is another health issue affecting Singapore special dogs.

This condition occurs when the kneecap slips out of its normal position, causing discomfort and difficulty in movement. Your dog might display signs like intermittent lameness, a hopping gait, or favoring one leg.

Surgical intervention is often required to correct severe cases, so early detection is crucial.


Cancer is a formidable adversary for dogs of all breeds, and Singapore Specials are no exception.

While your dog can’t tell you if something’s wrong, you can watch for warning signs. You should look for unusual lumps or bumps on your dog’s body, note any changes in their behavior, and be watchful for unexplained weight loss.

It’s vital to schedule regular check-ups with your veterinarian to safeguard your furry friend’s well-being. These check-ups are crucial as the vet can help in the early detection of potentially cancerous growths.

Early intervention is often the key to successful treatment of cancer.

Remember, your veterinarian is your most valuable ally in the fight against this disease, so don’t hesitate to seek their guidance and support.

Lens Luxation

Lens luxation is a complex condition affecting the eyes of some Singapore Specials. 

Dogs with lens luxation may exhibit symptoms such as excessive tearing, squinting, or, in severe cases, a visible displacement of the lens itself.

You should consult your veterinarian immediately, as a surgical intervention may be necessary to alleviate your dog’s distress and restore their vision. The sooner you address this issue, the better the chances of a successful outcome.

Skin Allergies

Skin allergies are relatively common among Singapore special dogs; managing them is crucial for your pup’s comfort.

Allergies can manifest in various ways, leading to itching, redness, rashes, or hair loss. 

The first step in dealing with skin allergies is identifying the culprits. These allergens can be diverse, ranging from specific foods to environmental factors like pollen or dust.

To pinpoint the source of your dog’s discomfort, you should consult a veterinarian who can perform tests to determine the specific allergens at play.

Once you’ve identified the triggers, you can take steps to avoid or mitigate your dog’s exposure.

Additionally, your vet may recommend appropriate treatments, such as medications or special diets, to help manage your dog’s allergies and ensure they lead a comfortable and itch-free life.

How to Care for Singapore Special Dogs

How to Care for Singapore Special Dogs

Now that you know some common health issues, let’s dive into how to provide top-notch care for your Singapore Special dog. 

Diet for Singapore Specials

Diet for Singapore Specials

Proper nutrition is the cornerstone of your dog’s health and well-being.

When feeding your Singapore Special, you should select a high-quality dog food that suits their age, size, and activity level.

Remember that some Singapore Specials may have allergies or sensitivities, so you must be attentive to how your dog reacts to different foods.

You should avoid feeding your dog human food, as some ingredients can be harmful. Fresh water should always be readily available for hydration.

Coat Care and Grooming Tips

Coat Care and Grooming Tips

Maintaining your Singapore Special’s coat is essential for his comfort and overall health. 

Your dog’s coat can vary from short to medium in length, and it might be straight or slightly wavy. Regular brushing helps prevent matting and removes loose hair, which can be particularly important during shedding seasons.

Bathing your dog should be done as needed, usually every few months or when he gets dirty. You should use a gentle dog shampoo and rinse thoroughly to avoid skin irritation. 

You should also check your dog’s ears for signs of infection or ear mites and trim his nails to a comfortable length.

Exercise Needs

Exercise Needs

Singapore Specials are energetic and playful, so regular exercise is a must to keep them happy and healthy. 

You should aim for at least 30 minutes to an hour of daily exercise. This can include walks, playtime in the yard, or interactive games to stimulate their minds.

Engaging your dog in mentally stimulating activities, like puzzle toys or training sessions, is as important as physical exercise.

How to Train Singapore Specials

How to Train Singapore Specials

Like any other dog, you can train a Singapore special dog with basic obedience training to address behavioral issues. You can do this yourself with behavioral techniques or hire a dog trainer.

Training your Singapore Special dog is essential for a happy and harmonious life together.

These lovable mutts can be a bit headstrong, but with the right methods and patience, you’ll have a well-behaved companion in no time.

Do Basic Obedience Training

Basic obedience training is fundamental in training Singapore special dogs or any dog breed. This lays the foundation for good behavior and helps create a harmonious relationship between you and your canine companion. 

You may start with simple commands like sit, stay, and come. Positive reinforcement, such as treats and praise, should be used to reward and encourage desired behaviors.

Consistency is key, as dogs thrive on routine and predictability. When training, you must ensure a calm and distraction-free environment to help your dog focus on the task. 

You should keep training sessions short, especially initially, to prevent your dog from becoming bored or frustrated. You can gradually introduce more complex commands and behaviors as your dog becomes more proficient.

Basic obedience training is an ongoing process that strengthens the bond between you and your dog while creating a well-behaved and well-adjusted pet.

Address Behavioral Issues

Addressing behavioral issues in Singapore Specials, as in any breed, is crucial to training and ensuring their well-being. These dogs may have unique backgrounds and experiences, which can lead to specific challenges.

Common behavioral issues include aggression, fearfulness, separation anxiety, and excessive barking. Identifying the root cause of the problem and addressing it with a tailored approach is essential. 

Positive reinforcement and consistency play a significant role in modifying unwanted behaviors. 

Your approach should be patient and compassionate, as it may take time to see progress.

Pro Tip
I recommend that you seek the guidance of a professional dog trainer or behaviorist, especially if the dog is too aggressive and can’t be tamed with treats.

Cost of Adopting Singapore Special Dogs

Cost of Adopting Singapore Special Dogs

The cost of adopting a Singapore special dog typically ranges from S$100 to S$350. 

Animal shelters and rescue organizations usually offer Singapore Specials at a lower cost, which includes vaccinations, sterilization, and sometimes basic training. 

These fees help support the shelter’s ongoing efforts to care for more animals in need. 

On the other hand, if you opt to adopt from a reputable breeder, the cost can be higher and may vary depending on the breeder’s reputation and the dog’s lineage.

Where to Adopt Singapore Special Dogs

Where to Adopt Singapore Special Dogs

When you decide to adopt a Singapore Special Dog, you’re not just gaining a new pet; you’re also making a positive impact on these dogs’ lives.

Several shelters and organizations are dedicated to rescuing and rehoming Singapore Special Dogs. Here are some of the notable ones.

Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA)

Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA)

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is one of Singapore’s most well-known and respected animal welfare organizations. 

It was founded in 1959 to provide a safe haven for countless animals, including Singapore’s special dogs. Its staff and volunteers work tirelessly to find these companions loving forever homes.

One of the key features of the SPCA is its commitment to education. It conducts various programs and workshops to raise awareness about animal welfare and provides valuable resources for new pet owners.

When you adopt a dog from the SPCA, you can be sure your new furry friend will be vaccinated, microchipped, and spayed/neutered.

Address50 Sungei Tengah Rd, Singapore 699012
Contact Details+65 6287 5355
Operating HoursMonday to Sunday
11:00 am – 4:00 pm

Action for Singapore Dogs (ASD)

Action for Singapore Dogs (ASD)

Action for Singapore Dogs, or ASD, is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of stray and abandoned dogs in Singapore. 

It has been around since 2000 and has made significant strides in dog rescue and adoption. ASD is unique because it focuses solely on the welfare of local dogs, including Singapore special dogs.

It offers a variety of adoption programs, including fostering, and ensures that all its dogs are up-to-date on vaccinations and are well-cared for.

Address80 Lim Chu Kang Lane 1, Singapore 718911
Contact Details[email protected]
Operating HoursOpen Daily (But strictly for appointment only)

Save Our Street Dogs (SoSD)

Save Our Street Dogs (SoSD)

Save Our Street Dogs, or SoSD, is another remarkable organization that is deeply committed to saving street dogs in Singapore, and its efforts have touched the hearts of many. 

What sets SoSD apart is its thorough vetting process for potential adopters. It ensures that its dogs go to loving, responsible homes.

So, if you’re ready to provide a safe and loving environment for a Singapore Special Dog, SoSD is an excellent place to adopt.

Address59 Sungei Tengah Road, Block TUnit 01-42 Singapore 699014
Contact DetailsClick here to contact the shelter via its website
Operating HoursOpen Daily (But strictly for appointment only)

Exclusively Mongrels

Exclusively Mongrels

Exclusively Mongrels is a unique initiative that primarily focuses on mongrel dogs, which are also part of the Singapore special dogs classification. 

This animal shelter celebrates these mixed-breed canines’ uniqueness and works diligently to change the stereotypes surrounding them.

When you adopt from Exclusively Mongrels, you’re not just giving a home to a dog; you’re also supporting a cause.

This organization does an incredible job of matching dogs with suitable owners and ensures that they receive the necessary medical attention.

Address102 Jalan Kuras, Sembawang Hills Estate, Singapore 577768.
Contact DetailsStrictly by appointment 
Click the application form on its website if you’re interested in adopting.

Causes for Animals Singapore (CAS)

Causes for Animals Singapore (CAS)

Causes for Animals Singapore, or CAS, is another non-profit organization dedicated to animal welfare.

While it focuses on various animals, it also works with Singapore Specials and is involved in rescue and adoption efforts.

CAS has a strong network of foster homes, making it easier for dogs to transition from shelters to loving families.

This animal shelter is a great option if you’re interested in fostering a dog before making a long-term commitment. It’s a wonderful way to know a dog’s personality and ensure they’re a good fit for your family.

Address59 Sungei Tengah Rd, The Animal Lodge, Singapore
Contact Details+65 9793 7162
Operating HoursOpen Daily
(Contact the shelter before you visit)

Adopting a Singapore special dog is a rewarding and heartwarming experience. Not only are you giving a loving home to a dog in need, but you’re also gaining a loyal and affectionate companion.

Your fur baby will repay you with endless love and companionship, making every moment spent together a truly special one.